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April is Parkinson's Awareness Month

Submitted by Irene Miller

Parkinson’s Awareness Month is observed in April. It is an opportunity to increase awareness about the disease and its symptoms, as well as to support those that are affected.

Parkinson’s is a long-term disorder where the central nervous system degenerates and that affects the motor system. Motor symptoms like trembling, stiffness, and rigidity are usually associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Symptoms typically occur slowly. One side is often affected first, but as Parkinson’s disease progresses, both sides are affected. Celebrities such as Muhammed Ali and Michael J. Fox were diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month because it is the birth month of James Parkinson. He was the London physician who published “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy” in 1817. He was the first physician to describe Parkinson’s disease.

At a summit in Luxembourg on April 11, 2005, the red tulip was unveiled as the global symbol of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that primarily affects dopamine-producing neurons in a certain part of the brain. It is a mobility disorder caused by a degenerative neural system dysfunction. Symptoms appear over time

Tremors, movement, and balance difficulties, limb rigidity, and delayed muscle action are all symptoms of this slowly advancing illness. While each person’s reaction to the disease differs, consequences are frequently serious. There is no cure for this disease, however extensive research is ongoing.

Approximately 10 million people in the world have Parkinson’s. Exercise can greatly help the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Aerobic exercise helps build new pathways in the brain to replace those that were damaged. This leads to the improvement of motor symptoms.

➢ There are no two people that experience the same symptoms.

➢Non-movement symptoms are more difficult to deal with than motor symptoms.

➢Loss of smell and small handwriting are some early symptoms of Parkinson’s.

➢At least $25 billion is spent per year on treatments for patients.

➢More men are affected by Parkinson’s than women.

How to observe Parkinson’s Awareness Month

➢Attend a local event-Throughout April, towns, businesses, healthcare professionals, and Parkinson's support groups will be voicing support, staging B.B.Q.s, organizing events, and giving information and access to education for those living with Parkinson's disease. Participate at a local event to show your support.

➢Show your support on socials-Join millions of people on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, and Twitter. Share your messages of support using the hashtag #parkinsonsawareness to help increase awareness.

➢Visit the neurologist -Make this the month you finally schedule that neurologist visit you've been putting off. It's better to be safe than sorry.

➢Show your support – financial giving to your local Parkinson’s non-profit organization. https://ncpsg.org/ or https://parkinsonsassociation.org/.

Parkinson’s Timeline

Why the red tulip? The Parkinson's red tulip started in 1980 when W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturist who had Parkinson’s disease, developed a red and white tulip and named his prized tulip the 'Dr. James Parkinson' in honor of the man who first described his medical condition and to honor the International Year of the Disabled.

The European Parkinson's Disease Association uses a red tulip as their logo based on the Dr. James Parkinson tulip. On April 11, 2005, the Red Tulip was launched as the Worldwide Symbol of Parkinson's disease at the 9th World Parkinson’s disease Day Conference in Luxembourg.

The red tulip you see here today was designed by an early-onset Parkinson's patient named Karen Painter and her friend Karen. This stylized tulip has leaves that are shaped like the letter’s 'P' and 'D'. Karen and Jean started a grassroots movement to make this tulip design become recognized as the symbol for Parkinson's Disease Awareness, the way the pink ribbon has done for breast cancer.

“We have a dream that Karen’s stylized tulip will become the symbol not for one Parkinson’s organization or event, but for the Parkinson’s community nationwide,” Jean said. “It will serve as a reminder that we all must work together to find a cure for the millions of people living with Parkinson’s disease.”

The PD Tulip is a symbol that represents all people with Parkinson's, all organizations and all scientists in the U.S. who are working for the cure.

 

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